Topping wealthier nations, key emerging markets attract record $126bn in clean energy investment
Developing nations eclipsed the world’s wealthiest countries in 2014, attracting more clean energy investment and building more wind, solar, and other renewable power generation than ever before, according to a global assessment released recently.Climatescope, the clean energy country competitiveness index, interactive report, and online tool supported by the UK government, US government, and the Inter-American Development Bank Group offers a compelling portrait of clean energy activity in 55 emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. The group includes major developing nations China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, as well as dozens of others.
News of the rising prominence of lesser developed countries comes on the eve of an important round of UN-organized climate negotiations kicking off in Paris at the end of November. Those talks have often focused on the question of how much capital wealthier countries should make available to lesser developed countries to address the climate challenge.
Climatescope’s key findings include:
– For the first time ever, over half of all new annual investment into clean energy power generating projects globally went toward projects in emerging markets, rather than toward wealthier countries.
– New investment in renewables soared in 2014 in the 55 Climatescope countries assessed to hit a record annual high of $126bn – up $35.5bn, or 39%, from 2013 levels.
– The results were substantially bolstered by the remarkable growth in China, which added 35GW of new renewable power generating capacity all on its own – more than the 2014 clean energy build in the US, UK, and France combined.
– Meanwhile, “South-South” investment (funds deployed in Climatescope nations from banks or other financial institutions based in those countries) surged to $79bn in 2014 from $53bn the year prior.
– Continuing declines in clean energy costs appear to be driving growth. Costs associated with solar photovoltaic power have ticked down 15% year-on-year globally. Solar is particularly competitive in emerging markets which often suffer from very high power prices from fossil generation while also enjoying very sunny conditions.
– A total of 50.4 gigawatts (GW) of new clean capacity was built in Climatescope countries, marking a 21% uptick from the prior year. In another first, renewables capacity deployed in emerging markets topped that in wealthier Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.
– On a percentage basis, clean energy capacity is growing twice as quickly in Climatescope nations compared to OECD ones.
Progress in 2014 was achieved despite a number of countries in the survey seeing economic growth rates slow. Average gross domestic product growth across Climatescope nations slipped to 5.7% in 2014 from 6.4% in 2013 with the slow-down most apparent in major nations, Brazil, South Africa, and China. Despite the pullback, these three countries attracted a total of $103bn in new clean energy investment in 2014.
The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB), the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), under President Barack Obama’s “Power Africa” initiative, commissioned Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) to analyze and rank development prospects for solar, wind, small hydro, geothermal, biomass, and other zero-carbon emitting technologies (excluding large hydro). The report provides potential investors with important information identifying countries with the greatest clean energy investment opportunities.